Looking back is a luxury for which scientists normally have little time. This XXV Anniversary Symposium, however, gives the opportunity of reminding us that in Belgium, where the risk of developing multiple sclerosis is among the highest in the world, a great man to whom we all pay tribute, I mean Dr Ludo van Bogaert, in 1957, took the initiative in founding the Belgian Research Group for Multiple Sclerosis. It may sound immodest but since that time members of the Belgian Research Group happen to have an honourable record of important contributions to MS research, quite out of proportion to the financial support they received for it. Indeed, when compared to the situation in English speaking countries, funding of MS research has always been neglected in our country in spite of the fact that in 1958, acting on the advice of the Belgian Research Group, the Belgian National MS Society was founded with the specific object of collecting money for research as well as for social care. At that time, the difficulty in raising funds for research was partly due to the fact that solving the problem of MS appeared almost impossible. Scientists could apparently only too slowly improve their ability to prevent and cure the disease. Media were indifferent to MS which was considered to have no news value, and the public remained uninformed.